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Less than 48 hours into his role, the UK's new Defence Secretary, John Healey, has pledged to intensify the UK's support for Ukraine during a visit to Odesa.

Meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Defence Minister Rustem Umerov, Healey announced a new support package for Ukraine, including additional artillery guns, a quarter of a million rounds of ammunition, and nearly 100 precision Brimstone missiles. He also committed to fast-tracking previously promised military aid to arrive within the next 100 days.

The visit coincided with Ukraine’s annual navy day celebrations, where Healey reaffirmed Britain’s unwavering support for Ukraine under the new government.

"There may have been a change in government, but the UK is united for Ukraine," Healey stated. "As the new Defence Secretary, I will ensure that we reinvigorate Britain’s support by stepping up supplies of vital military aid. Our commitment to stand with the Ukrainian people is absolute, as is our resolve to confront Russian aggression and pursue Putin for his war crimes. This government is steadfast in our commitment to continue supplying military assistance and will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Ukrainian friends for as long as it takes."

The new support package includes:

- 250,000 rounds of 50 calibre ammunition

- 90 anti-armour Brimstone missiles

- 50 small military boats for river and coastal operations

- 40 de-mining vehicles

- 10 AS-90 artillery guns

- 61 bulldozers for defensive positions

Support for previously supplied AS-90s, including 32 new barrels and critical spares

In April, the UK announced its largest-ever military aid package to Ukraine, consisting of 400 vehicles, 1,600 strike and air defense missiles, including additional Storm Shadow long-range precision-guided missiles, four million rounds of ammunition, and 60 boats. Healey has directed officials to ensure the swift delivery of this package within the next 100 days.

Since the start of Ukraine's unprovoked invasion, the UK has provided over £7.6 billion in military support, playing a pivotal role in Ukraine’s defense. The UK was the first to provide modern, Western battle tanks and long-range precision-guided missiles. Additionally, Operation Interflex has seen more than 42,000 Ukrainian soldiers trained in the UK since June 2022.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of the Defence Staff, highlighted the significant impact of British support, noting, "The recent milestone of 500,000 Russians killed or wounded is a reminder of how badly this war has gone for Russia. Over the past year, with British help, Ukraine has driven the Russian fleet from Crimea and reopened the Black Sea for exports. The battle on land is much tougher, but Ukraine’s future as a sovereign nation is not in doubt."

Long-term support for Ukraine is also being provided through international capability coalitions, with the UK co-leading the maritime coalition alongside Norway and the drone coalition with Latvia. The drone coalition has rapidly deployed thousands of drones to support Ukraine and has bolstered the UK defense industry, with over £50 million pledged to fund the coalition.

Training and equipment provided to Ukraine’s naval forces have proved invaluable in degrading and containing Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, allowing Ukraine to restore its vital grain exports to pre-war levels. Photo by Lauren Hurley / No 10 Downing Street, Wikimedia commons.